Environment, Sustainability, United Kingdom

As we mark Global Recycling Day 2021, our teams around the world are working to make a positive impact with our circular economy, waste, materials and resources expertise.

Check out some project highlights from across our company:

Circular economy roadmap

We recently developed a circular economy roadmap for a major international pharmaceutical manufacturer. The client has ambitious zero-carbon targets. To help achieve their goal, they will need to follow the principles of the circular economy by keeping materials in use and at their highest value for as long as possible. Our team arranged workshops and partnered with the client’s staff from across the organization to identify priority areas and actions, including for pharmaceuticals produced by living organisms such as coronavirus vaccines. We are also carrying out an ongoing program of site assessments, helping them to minimize waste, increase recycling and save money.

Zero Waste Plan

In 2020, we prepared a Zero Waste Plan for the San Diego County Regional Airport Authority. The plan set out pathways to reach zero waste to landfill and align with the City of San Diego’s goal through rethinking, reducing, reusing and recycling materials. With more than 24 million passengers traveling through San Diego International Airport and approximately 10,000 badged employees working on-site, zero waste represents an ambitious proposition. Our Zero Waste Plan sets out goals of reducing waste generation, increasing waste diverted from landfill and demonstrating regional and industry leadership in zero waste.

Consolidated markets

The City of London Consolidated Markets Project involves the consolidation of three of London’s historic markets (Billingsgate, Smithfield and New Spitalfields Market) into one proposed site. We were first brought onto the project to give a desk-based understanding of how much space for waste facilities would be required at the new development. Due to the scale of the project, we identified that an understanding of waste and resources management would be required across the lifespan of the project from design to end of life, in line with the waste hierarchy. Our London waste team subsequently facilitated a designing out waste workshop to identify quick wins and priorities in resource management for the client. Taking a lifecycle approach to the project, the existing materials on the site were managed in the most efficient way and waste was reduced.

Reducing microplastics pollution

We have undertaken a project for Drainage Services Department (DSD) of the Government of Hong Kong Special Administrative Region (SAR) to study the level of microplastics (MP) pollution in Hong Kong’s major Sewage Treatment Works and stormwater drains, and propose improvement measures to reduce the MP discharge into the marine environment. We collaborated with the Water Policy Division of Environmental Protection Department (EPD), DSD and local research institutions to develop a MP survey covering MP size down to 20 micrometer. With a paucity of survey methods of MPs for sewage and drainage, AECOM developed sampling and laboratory analysis method adapting to the local laboratory capabilities and site conditions.

Mike Bains

Originally published Mar 18, 2021

Author: Mike Bains

Mike leads AECOM’s waste and resources practice across our Europe and Middle East and Africa regions, which is part of our climate change, sustainability and resources group. He is based in the United Kingdom.